PostPigeon-How-is-Local-SEO-PerformingLocal search engine optimization was already a growing market, especially for smaller businesses. With a relatively small investment, and greatly reduced competition in the targeted market, it was a simpler task to get a client or project noticed on the local level. Google, Bing, and Yahoo even provided helpful local map searchability, complete with directions, phone numbers, and other contact details that connects consumers with businesses quickly and easily.

Pigeon brought on significant changes; launched in July or 2014, it contained a number of alterations and trumpeted “improvements” to local search results and the quality therein, not the least of which was increased competition. National websites were getting local results in cities in industries such as hotel listings, which meant that formerly open arenas were going to become a bit more crowded.

There were also changes to the entire layout of the search engine results pages (SERP), which meant that local SEO experts could no longer rely on some of their best tactics to get rankings where they needed to be. All in all, it wasn’t exactly welcome news to those that are paid by their clients to boost and amplify local results, but a few months later, what’s really changed?

What We Know:

  • Search radius have been reduced for most, but not all, local queries. This can effect certain businesses more than others. Hotels, for example, may not be as negatively impacted.
  • Directory sites have priority, which means that you may want to get your client listed on them if you haven’t already focused on that aspect of local SEO. SERPs will show your client’s placement in a directory or individual page listing, so it’s worthwhile to work on.
  • Results are much more chaotic than they were before. One might argue that the nature of local SEO would benefit more from “shake-ups” in search engine rankings and first SERP results, but it’s something that you need to keep in mind and inform your clients of. What they see could change from week to week, or even day to day. It’s a much more volatile environment than national search engine rankings.

What to Keep in Mind: Pigeon is still a work in progress, and all of its algorithmic changes are still being fully explored. It can also change at a moment’s notice, so local SEO experts are going to have to learn to think on their feet, now more than ever. Content is still high on the list of priorities, as are keyword targets, but variables like social media engagement and directory listings may play a larger role than they had previously. A lot has changed, but a lot has stayed the same, so proceed as you know best.